After years of on-again-off-again planning, Back to Black, a biopic about the late singer Amy Winehouse seems finally destined to hit the big screen, industry sources are reporting. Sam Taylor-Johnson, a close friend of Winehouse, will be directing Matt Greenhalgh’s script for Studiocanal. The director and the producers are now searching for an actor to play the lead role.
The upcoming film will trace Winehouse’s rise to superstardom from her roots in North London, a career cut short at the age of 27 following a long battle with alcohol and drugs. She is best remembered for hit songs like Rehab and Back to Black.
In 2015, Lotus Entertainment had hoped to make a feature film about her life, with Noomi Rapace in the starring role, but the project did not see fruition. Asif Kapadia’s A24 documentary Amy, however, was well-received and won an Oscar for best documentary.
The Studiocanal project is reportedly moving forward with the full support of Winehouse’s estate. Winehouse’s father, Mitch, had been highly critical of the Amy documentary, calling it a “horrible” film that painted him in “the worst possible light.” In 2018, her family tried to collaborate with producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward on a feature, but that venture also came to naught. At the time, Mitch was quoted as saying: “We know through the Amy Winehouse Foundation that the true story of her illness can help so many others who might be experiencing similar issues.”
Taylor-Johnson’s debut biopic, in 2008, was Nowhere Boy, a film about the childhood of John Lennon. She directed Fifty Shades of Grey, but declined to do other films in that franchise due to creative disagreements with the author.
Following her death in 2011, Tinseltown has since tried to tell her story with various projects going into development including one from Lotus Entertainment with Noomi Rapace attached to star but ultimately none moving forward, while a feature film has yet to make it into production, the 2015 A24 doc Amy had a quite success for winning the Oscar for best documentary.